“Needs crying is when a baby is expressing a present moment need, such as being hungry, uncomfortable, over-stimulated, under-stimulated or tired. These are basic needs and when they are met the crying stops. Memory crying is when the baby is experiencing sensations and images that relate to an earlier experience, such as a moment in the birth that was overwhelming. This type of crying is associated with repetitive body movements, such as frantically pushing or ‘paddling’ with the legs or swiping an area of the head or pulling an ear again and again. These movements are sometimes expressing an impulse that got blocked, such as the attempt to push through the birth canal that became overwhelmed by anaesthetic coming through the umbilical cord. It may indicate a place where the cranium became compressed by a pelvic bone or the baby became disoriented and lost. There are times in the birth process where babies do not know if they are going to survive. They are being crushed under intense pressure, flooded by stress hormones or drugs through the umbilical cord or deprived of oxygen as the cord gets compressed during the contractions. Babies express the powerful emotions that any of us would associate with such intense experiences; rage, panic, sadness, disorientation.”
With craniosacral therapy we hold the space for babies to express their birth memories and be heard. It is the listening to and acknowledging of the pain that allows the baby to let go of it.
Read more: Birth Trauma: A Cultural Blind Spot.
“What I feel is unique about craniosacral therapy is its approach to conception, embryological development and birth. Such a concept is based on the acknowledgement of us as a sentient being from conception, and that from this point onward we can and do experience the same traumas, pleasures, pains that we experience later in life as children and adults…. Craniosacral therapy can facilitate acknowledgement of these issues for both mother and child and prevent these factors becoming a causator of negative influences in later life. By attentive listening to the craniosacral system, an integration and dissipation of the trauma can be achieved.”
When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.
When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child’s song to him or her. Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child’s song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song.
Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person’s bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life.
To the African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during his or her life, the person commits a crime or aberrant social act, the individual is called to the center of the village and the people in the community form a circle around them. Then they sing their song to them.
The tribe recognizes that the correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment; it is love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
You may not have grown up in an African tribe that sings your song to you at crucial life transitions, but life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn’t. In the end, we shall all recognize our song and sing it well.
“We have our essential nature, you can call it our song, intact underneath every circumstance that we have ever endured. Yet it feels like some of the challenges we experience become our identity, that we, for very innocent reasons, must adapt as quickly as we can when we are in the womb to learn about the outside world and we take it in as though this is normal and proceed as such after we are born. It’s so sneaky how it gets into us, but it’s a purely intelligent adaptive loving response for your body to do that, because we are born not independent. It makes perfect sense that we become as similar as possible to our environment so we can survive and thrive in it, so that anything our mothers go through, our parents, our village, our culture, our ancestors we need to be somewhat similar, until we are independent enough and differentiate enough that we can move forward as individuals.”
Craniosacral work is a beautiful way into those early times that cannot be accessed through conscious talking and can help us get in touch with “our song” and clear the path for us to enjoy it more.
Matthew Appleton (UK) explains how craniosacral therapy may be a powerful way to support babies’ arrival into this world. As craniosacral therapists we listen to the stories babies are telling through their ‘baby language’ (eg body movements, memory cry) and help them feel heard and welcome.
(In English with Italian translation)
Notice what you feel in your body as you watch this video…